aka “How Lily learned to shut up and listen.”
The Postal Service – “Give Up”
Perfect studying music. And since I don’t really listen to Death Cab (with the exception of a couple tracks), I gotta rep Ben Gibbard in another way.
Gorillaz – “Demon Days”
The first time I listened to this album, I hated it. (This is a recurring thing for me, btw.) Now, it’s one of my go-to listens, especially if I’m hankering for some acoustic hip-hop vibes.
LCD Soundsystem – “Sound of Silver”
Barring the fact that “All My Friends” is one of my favorite tunes of all time, this is just a superbly crafted stripped down electro album. James Murphy, please come back to LCD. We can’t survive off of sporadic DJ sets forever.
Crystal Castles – “Crystal Castles I” and “Crystal Castles II”
They sound like breaking glass, but in the best way possible. Fun fact: “Celestica” is the most played song on my iTunes.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Show Your Bones”
Ultimate girl power anthem album. If I could have walk-on music, I would roll in on “Phenomena.”
Muse – “Absolution”
“Stockholm Syndrome” was the song that launched my interest in modern music. I owe everything to this album. Also: fantastic live.
The National – “Boxer”
I adore “Conversation 16” off of “High Violet,” but this album’s moodier, denser, and overall more satisfying for me. “Green Gloves” gives me chills, and “Fake Empire” is one of my favorite album openers.
Neutral Milk Hotel – “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea”
A classic. One of the few albums I actually own in a physical copy. Mangum’s songwriting ability is so good it’s almost disgusting. The only girl I ever loved was born with roses in her eyes… And the title track might be my favorite song of all time.
MGMT – “Oracular Spectacular”
Still has the best set of opening tracks I’ve ever heard. “Time To Pretend,” “Electric Feel,” “The Youth” and “Kids” will never lose their power.
Cut Copy – “In Ghost Colours”
Glittering electro with an incredible sadness. If that’s what it takes then don’t let it tear us apart, even if it breaks your heart…
Belle & Sebastian – “The Life Pursuit”
I know their other albums are supposed to be “better,” but this one has all the songs I sing along to.
Arcade Fire – “Funeral”
My high school life in an album. I woke up to this every morning for 4 years.
Imogen Heap – “Speak For Yourself”
Frou Frou’s “Must Be Dreaming” is my fave Imogen song (with “Come Here Boy” being a close second), but this album showcases her quality quirky pop at its most consistent.
The New Pornographers – “Twin Cinema”
I used to not listen to them because of their band name. I was also a fool. “Stacked Crooked” is one of my favorite album closers.
Malajube – “Trompe-l’oeil”
The beginning of my Francophilism (?). I don’t always understand what’s going on lyrics-wise, but the arrangements and delivery are so tight. And when I do look up the lyrics, they’re usually pretty kicky (“Mon plat favori” is a fave).
The Beatles – “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “Revolver”
I don’t think I have to explain these.
The Dresden Dolls – “Yes, Virginia”
My introduction into alt music culture. I remember gasping the first time I heard “Sex Changes.”
Girl Talk – “Night Ripper”
The first time I tuned into this album and heard the strings of “Bittersweet Symphony,” I don’t think I understood what a “mashup” was, only that whatever was happening to my ears rocked and I wanted more. (Oh, did I get it.)
Ghinzu – “Blow”
I hated “Seaside Friends,” and that was the first song I heard by them, so I didn’t listen to the rest of the album for a long time. But by chance, my iTunes shuffled onto “Blow” one day, and the rest, as they say, is history. It’s filled with the most incredible builds and style shifts. Did you ever know there’s a light inside your bones?
Bloc Party – “Silent Alarm”
The only effort these guys put out that didn’t sound like they tried too hard. It’s just really good rock music. Matt Tong’s drumming is superb.
The Killers – “Hot Fuss”
Middle school angst that translates into modern times.
Franz Ferdinand – “Franz Ferdinand”
I do love “Eleanor Put Your Boots On,” but the tracks on this album are sharper, wittier, and more heartbreaking all around.
The Notwist – “Neon Golden”
A quiet sort of pop. “One With The Freaks” is dear to me.
Daft Punk – “Discovery”
Turn out the lights, close your eyes, and plug this one in for a good time.
Queens of the Stone Age – “Era Vulgaris”
Something with a little more edge. For when I’m feeling feisty.
Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart”
Like cotton candy, but in the best way.
New Order – “Substance”
Three words: “Bizarre Love Triangle.” I’m fond of “Power, Corruption, Lies,” but there’s too many classics on “Substance” to pass it up.
Feist – “The Reminder”
My first real foray into a hushed kind of indie sound. I remember listening to “1234” for the first time and cozying up to the fuzziness of the recording.
Klaxons – “Myths of the Near Future”
So weird. So wonderful. “Gravity’s Rainbow” is the type of song I dream about.
Passion Pit – “Chunk of Change EP”
Cute. Not as pertinent as it used to be in my life, but old listening habits die hard, and “Sleepyhead” really is a perfect tune.
La Roux – “La Roux”
Brassy, bold, and so so catchy.
Radiohead – “In Rainbows”
How can I put “In Rainbows” up and not “OK Computer”?! “In Rainbows” is more accessible for me, and “Videotape” is a stunner.
The Flaming Lips – “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots”
At first I thought it was too weird for me, but the more I listened to it, the more I liked it. It’s thoughtful weird rock. I can dig it.
Yelle – “Pop Up”
She lost some of her snarl on “Safari Disco Club” (barring the opening two tracks IMO), but when Yelle first stepped out of the gate, she was golden.
Kanye West – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”
Or “How Kanye West won me over completely.”
Mark Ronson & the Business Intl – “Record Collection”
Ronson seems pretty damn full of himself, and while “Version” became a cliche (horns!), “Record Collection” was his chance to iron out the kinks and make ’80s influenced tunes without being too heavy handed about it.
The Strokes – “Is This It”
Lo-fi love stories.
Metric – “Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?”
Emily Haines and co. kill on “Live It Up” too, but “Hustle Rose” and “Combat Baby” push this one over the edge for me.
Kid Cudi – “Man On The Moon: The End Of Day”
Sweet sweet stoner music.
Depeche Mode – “Violator”
Dark, dramatic, and sexy music for people who aren’t dark, dramatic, and sexy. (Okay, maybe I’m only speaking for myself.)
Robyn – “Body Talk”
The real queen of pop. Still can’t believe she started her career in the ’90s. Good for her.
Sleigh Bells – “Treats”
I like “Reign of Terror” too, but this one’s my go-to album for thrash music.
Lady Gaga – “The Fame Monster”
After this, it was okay to be weird again. I do adore “Summerboy” and “Disco Heaven” off of “The Fame” though.
Justice – †
Music for late nights.
(Image: Feminist Choice by Jillian Tamaki)